Why we should be focused on food now.

Did you catch Eric Schmidt on Face the Nation this weekend? He’s helping leaders reimagine parts of the economy. Interestingly, he touched on many of the topics covered in the Weekly Rush over the last several months including housing and infrastructure to facilitate remote work and education. 

Last week, I raised the need for meaningful innovation in healthcare and incentives to influence industries that effect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.

I’ve been thinking with the food supply chain since visiting family in rural Canada last year. The problems were really clear to me then because my point of reference is California.

When you live with abundance, it’s eye opening when you can’t get what you need. Hopefully, the stories about crops being destroyed, animals being euthanized and shelves sitting empty are illuminating the problems for others now too.

I recently discovered the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and more specifically, how it relates to food.

Stats

“Approximately $1 trillion of food is either lost or wasted annually – an amount that accounts for nearly one-third of the world’s food. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), ending food waste would preserve enough food to feed two billion people. That’s more than twice the number of undernourished people in the world.”

Food is a problem in developed countries. At the end of 2019, over 39 million Americans received food stamps from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program [SNAP]. With unemployment above 14% now and climbing, it’s safe to assume more Americans are eligible for the SNAP benefit and likely in need of other food subsidies.

Despite the Trump Administration’s optimism about an economic rebound in the summer, history tells us main street and all the people who work on main street are not going to recover that quickly. The need for food subsidies will likely persist for the next decade.

Opportunity

Addressing food waste is reportedly one of the most important things we can do to also reverse global warming. Why? Think beyond the wasted food to all the resources and energy consumed to grow, harvest, produce and transport the food.

Without getting into specific ideas now, Covid19 poses the opportunity for us to change:

1/ What we grow

2/ Where we grow it

3/ How we grow it

4/ How we harvest it

5/ How we distribute it

Stakeholder Capitalism

A recent WSJ email answered the question about whether or not we’ll see a shift to Stakeholder Capitalism following the Covid19 shut down. Only 18% of leaders are expecting to make the shift.

The response is disheartening when as an industry we’ve heard nothing but complaints from them about the rising cost of healthcare. If you consider the Sustainable Development Goals, leaders outside the industry have just as much or more control over their rising healthcare costs as the healthcare industry.

We should have a shared responsibility in addressing the goals, reducing the cost of healthcare and achieving peace.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.”

17 Sustainable Development Goals

1/ No poverty

2/ Zero hunger

3/ Good health and well-being

4/ Quality education

5/ Gender Equality

6/ Clean and sustainable water

7/ Affordable and clean energy

8/ Decent work and economic growth

9/ Industry innovation and infrastructure

10/ Reduced Inequalities

11/ Sustainable cities and communities

12/ Responsible consumption and production

13/ Climate action

14/ Life below water

15/ Life on land

16/ Peace, justice and institutions

17/ Partnership for the goals